Urban Sustainability

The ongoing urbanization poses significant ecological, economic, technical and social challenges in society. The strategic research area Urban Sustainability aims to contribute to an urban development that is more sustainable and thus improves people's living environment and health.

By 2050, nearly 70 per cent of the world’s population is expected to live in cities, and Sweden is also a country with a growing population and extensive urbanisation. This sets new demands on building the cities in an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable manner. Our goal is a more sustainable urban development that creates good living environments and contributes to improving people’s well-being without exceeding the limits of what our planet can handle.

We have to have a holistic perspective, where social, technical, financial and legal factors, among others, are linked together with the ecological factors since these parts are woven together with each other. We cannot live together in a dense environment where there are light years of difference in the living standards between individuals.

Stephan Barthel, Research Leader

The research leaders comments about the research domain:

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The strategic research area Urban Sustainability addresses social challenges linked to goals 7, 11 and 13 in Agenda 2030.

A major societal challenge

One of the greatest societal challenges is that an extensive urbanisation is under way. In recent decades, focus has been on building the dense city to achieve climate goals and to develop strong urban economies, but this has taken place at the expense of green spaces and the health of people who live in the cities. Given the growing urbanisation, the cities’ development is crucial to our ability to create a sustainable future.

The goal of the strategic research domain, Urban Sustainability, is for the University of Gävle to become one of the best and most dynamic research arenas regarding sustainable urban development in Sweden.

It is an interdisciplinary and broad field that extends across environmental sciences, energy systems, social sciences, public health sciences, religious studies, engineering, and biology.

Research programmes

There are three research programmes in the strategic research domain: Urban Studio, Urban Commons and Urban Transitions.

Urban Studio

The programme aims to bring about a more sustainable urban development that also contributes to improving people’s well-being. This includes cities developing for the best of the environment with a focus on people without exceeding the limits of what our planet can handle.

Programme Co-ordinator: Johan Colding

Urban Commons

Urban Commons is a research programme that aims for interdisciplinary research and collaboration for socially sustainable urban development. In this, existing residential areas and innovative urban planning are in focus for urban social sustainability. The research represents a holistic perspective that includes public health, welfare, ecology, ethics and views of life. A central aspect of urban commons is people’s joint participation and influence in sustainable urban development. The research programme is under development.

Programme Co-ordinator: Stefan Sjöberg

Urban Transitions

The mission of the research program is to accelerate the transition to a sustainable attractive society through extensive changes in technical, ecological and socio-technical systems. The goal of Urban Transition is to solve environmental and societal challenges by promoting resilient, resource-efficient and circular systems that improve human life. This multidisciplinary program is under development.

Programme Co-ordinator: Mathias Cehlin and Marita Wallhagen

Business research school

In the strategic research domain, there is also a business research school called Future-Proof Cities.

Future-Proof Cities

The unique business research school initiative “Future-Proof Cities” provides important collaboration between the business and academic communities. What is unique about the business research school is that it builds on a social dialogue where the academic community in collaboration with the business community and urban planning directly implements solutions to develop our cities into climate smart, vibrant, healthy and safe places. The research school will be of great significance to spread and create new knowledge in cooperation with industry.

Research projects

Research leader

The strategic research area is led by two research leaders.

Stephan Barthel.

Stephan Barthel

Docent in geospatial information science

E-mail: stephan.barthel@hig.se
Phone: +46 76 360 57 05

Research presentation: Stephan Barthel

Published by: Catarina Carlsson Page responsible: Hasse Nordlöf Updated: 2020-08-27
Högskolan i Gävle
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